Amazon is hiring a health privacy expert for 'new initiative'

Key Points
  • Amazon is looking for an expert to oversee its health privacy efforts. 
  • That person will be focused on a "new initiative." 
Amazon is hiring a health privacy expert for 'new initiative'
Amazon is hiring a health privacy expert for 'new initiative'

Amazon is looking to hire an expert in a set of health privacy regulations known as HIPAA, according to a new job listing

The company is looking for a professional who can "own and operate" the security and compliance aspects of a new initiative. The person will also ensure that it meets HIPAA business associate agreement requirements, meaning Amazon intends to work with outside partners that manage personal health information. 

It is also hoping the new hire will provide a consultative resource for all health-care regulatory issues. 

Amazon is the latest technology company, after Apple and Alphabet, to make moves in health care. As CNBC reported in spring 2017, the company strategized how it could carve out a slice of the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market. It also has a health-care team at in Seattle, known by many names including "1492."

One more immediate reason that Amazon might be looking for a health privacy expert is to augment its efforts to bring its Alexa voice assistant to health care.

The technology is not yet HIPAA compliant, which means developers aren't able to record patients' lab results or other types of health information in a clinical setting. 

Amazon Web Services' health lead acknowledged the gap in September at an event to promote Alexa in hospitals. "While Alexa and Lex (the technology powering Alexa) are not HIPAA-eligible, this (challenge) has provided us an opportunity to envision what is possible," she said.

In the summer, Amazon hired Missy Krasner, herself an expert in health policy, who formerly ran Box's health care initiatives.